Corrections – The all too often missing link in the rule of law chain
“People deprived of their liberty are often overlooked, disregarded, forgotten or denied their right – enshrined in Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Many systems of justice entail punishment by imprisonment, but there are standards that this punishment must meet. Women and girls cannot be locked up with men. Children must be given their own facility and have access to education. And in most cases, rehabilitation should be among the goals,” United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
The day-to-day work of UN Corrections officers in peacekeeping operations around the world is to ensure that those rights are protected and to work with host governments to build up their capacity to uphold at least minimum standards of incarceration. This includes ensuring that prisons are not overcrowded, and that detainees and inmates have access to sanitation, food and medical care. Efforts are also made to enhance rehabilitation programmes so that people who have served their time can become productive, law-abiding citizens.
By protecting the rights of prisoners and helping to ensure that justice is served, UN peacekeeping operations promote faith in a country’s legal system and the long-term stability it fosters.